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Community Partnerships

Community engaged projects prepare our students to become leaders in the agri-food sector through experiential learning, while providing partner organizations with a dedicated, multi-disciplinary team to work through a challenge identified by the partner.

Partnership Requirements

To ensure a mutually beneficial experience for the partner and for the students, projects must fit the following guidelines.

The challenge has the potential to create a project that results in some demonstrable output by April 2024 (report, new product, event, demonstration, toolkit, etc.)

The project is of appropriate scope (4-5 students committing ~8-10 hours per week for 6 months).

Topic of the challenge is in agri-food and relates to the following goals and objectives:

  • Global scale – to transform agriculture’s impact on biodiversity
  • Landscape scale – to sustainably intensify food production
  • Micro-scale – to enhance food safety and livestock health

The partner organization has a “point-person” who is interested and dedicated to working closely with the student team. This person will be able to commit to regular check-ins with student team, and with the AFI Education Coordinator.

For more information, please contact: Jeanna Rex, Education Coordinator at

2022-2023 Projects

The Food System Resiliency Table is looking to update the Guelph-Wellington Food Charter to reflect community priorities and needs.

10C Shared Space and the Our Food Future initiative asked its student group to provide recommendations for best practices and frameworks for food policy development as well as the needs of the community to consider when updating the charter.

The City of Charlottetown

 is home to 40,500 residents and recently composed the Charlottetown Food Council in response to its plans and goals related to food security and a more sustainable food system. For this project, students took a closer look at this municipality, the issues it currently faces, and where it can focus its efforts to improve food security and enrich food networks to help inform the creation of a food strategy.

Noki Farms is a hybrid indoor farm retail space in Guelph that offers mushrooms, microgreens, and fresh herbs. The students on this project looked at how the company can expand its customer network in a sustainable manner by understanding the value created by a hyper-local specialty mushroom, microgreen, and fresh herb business in the city.

Food Day Canada is a grassroots movement carried out by many volunteers. Since it was founded in 2003 by the late Anita Stewart, it has grown to include over 150 restaurants partners and thousands of farmers, chefs, home cooks and food system partners. However, the organizers are looking to grow the celebration and students in this group were tasked with exploring ways to do this and help inform a strategic plan.

s a grassroots movement carried out by many volunteers. Since it was founded in 2003 by the late Anita Stewart, it has grown to include over 150 restaurants partners and thousands of farmers, chefs, home cooks and food system partners. However, the organizers are looking to grow the celebration and students in this group were tasked with exploring ways to do this and help inform a strategic plan.

Students partnered up with Grain Farmers of Ontario took a closer look at the important and influential market trends and shifts relevant to Ontario-grown grains. The goal was to better understand how grain farmers, which the Grain Farmers of Ontario represent, can adapt to these while improving their competitiveness and position themselves to be both environmentally and economically successful.

Previous Partners

AAFC provides leadership in the growth and development of a competitive, innovative and sustainable Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector. To better understand the innovative approaches community organizations used to increase individual and household access to food during Covid-19, a team of students reviewed food insecurity initiatives that emerged across the country and invited some of those organizations to participate in further study.

Read the student team blog >>

The Nutritious Food Workstream is a Smart Cities Our Food Future initiative with a goal of increasing access to affordable, nutritious food by 50% by 2025.  To learn more about food availability, affordability and marketing of nutritious foods in food retail settings, students interviewed managers, owners and operators of local grocery and convenient stores to gain perspective about accessibility, marketing and access to promote healthier food and gauge interest for future interventions.

Read the student team blog >>

SAI Platform is a non-profit organization created in 2002 by members of the food and beverage sector who wanted a pre-competitive platform to discuss common sustainability challenges across the agricultural supply chain. The student team conducted interviews with sustainability managers, farmers and other actors at every level of the supply chain to compile positive examples to showcase the ability of farming to be part of the solution.

Read the student team blog >>


Seed Voyage is a digital platform created to share the bounty of backyard gardens by connecting growers to eaters . The student team partnered with an established local community organization and created an outreach plan that will help Seed Voyage establish a user group in SW Ontario that has enough eaters and growers to promote regular activity on the digital platform.

Read the student team blog >>

Cellular Agriculture is a nationwide interdisciplinary not-for-profit organization shaping the cellular agriculture industry in Canada.  New Harvest is a non-profit research institute that supports open, public cultured meat research. To inform business models that can transform or complement current animal-based models, the student teams created and distributed surveys to consumers, livestock farmers, meat processors, and retailers to understand their thoughts about cellular agriculture.

Read the student team blog >>

De La Mer is a fish market-based in Toronto, Ontario that has the goal of reducing the environmental impact of their operations through improving their packaging products. The student team is examining several potential sustainable options which can act as a replacement for the current packaging being used. The best options will be determined through scientific literature review, adherence to food packaging regulations, cost analysis, and consumer surveys.

GoodLeaf Farms is an indoor, vertically farming environment that grows leafy greens. To better understand their environmental impact, GoodLeaf wants to expand their carbon footprint assessment and the student team is creating a framework to evaluate carbon emissions, water use, and land use to provide a tool for understanding the general environmental impacts of vertical farming.

La Tablée des Chefs is an organization devoted to fighting food insecurity and is focused on food literacy, food recovery and education. The Kitchen Brigades is one of their programs offered in high schools, which works to increase the food literacy of its participants by introducing youth between the ages of 12 to 17 to culinary training. The student team is examining communication strategies and effective channels to encourage students to remain and join the program.

Livestock Research and Innovation Corporation (LRIC) is a trusted third-party organization that creates a robust future for the livestock value chain through collaborative, creative, and practical research, and innovation. Its growing membership includes all the livestock producer organizations, plus companies along the livestock supply chain. A need to listen to the voice of the producers has been identified and the student team will gather information from producers and make new recommendations on how to Get Research Into Practice(GRIP) in the livestock sector.

Our Food Future (OFF) is a federally funded City-County partnership project focused on building a circular economy for food in the Guelph Wellington region. OFF is developing a regenerative agriculture pilot project, titled “The Experimental Acres Project”. The student team will select producers from a pool of applicants by analyzing an application survey and develop an individualized plan for each experimental plot. The goal of this study is to educate farmers in Wellington County on regenerative agriculture approaches and encourage farmers to scale these practices within their operations.

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Feedback Blog

FeedBack is a blog contributed to by the Arrell Food Institute and Food From Thought graduate students on their experiences in the program.

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